‘Call-in’ requested for Dudley Hippodrome planning application
Theatres Trust has written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities to request call-in on the planning application for Dudley Hippodrome and the adjacent site.
The Secretary of State has the power to take over planning applications rather than letting the local authority decide.
Dudley Hippodrome has been on our Theatres at Risk Register since 2010 and is a building we consider could be viably returned to live performance and cultural use for the benefit of Dudley and its residents, contributing to rejuvenation of the town in the manner of similar opportunities in Bradford, Stockton-on-Tees and Walthamstow.
The application seeks complete demolition of this asset with construction of a replacement building for further and higher education use. However, Theatres Trust does not feel that sufficient consideration has been given to exploring options for retention and positive re-use of the building and there is a possible conflict of interest with Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council determining its own application.
Furthermore, there are sustainability implications of demolition and reconstruction which are not consistent with the council’s declaration of a climate emergency. We have seen elsewhere that the calculated carbon cost for demolition and replacement can be twice that of retrofit, so the carbon cost of demolition of the Hippodrome and rebuilding anew requires recognition.
We await a response from the Secretary of State and continue to support the local group working to save the Hippodrome.